'I Have No Regrets': An Interview with Geert Wilders
“That might be true," says Geert Wilders about the possibility that he has lost his freedom for the rest of his life, "and if so is a very sad conclusion. I wouldn’t wish my worst political enemy not to be free. But I have no regrets. I have to pay a high price for the fight for freedom, but it’s worth it because if I and others in the world don’t fight against the ideology of hate and submission, we will all lose our freedom." His remarks came on the day before the man who may become the Netherlands' next prime minister goes to trial for criticizing Islam.
Wilders has lately been spending his days and nights with his lawyer preparing for a courtroom battle in the homeland of Spinoza. Human Rights Service asked him if he would be willing to conduct an interview by email, and he replied in the affirmative. But he added that because of the time pressures he is under, "it would help if it's not too long" and asked that we send "just a few questions."
The whole world will have its eyes on Amsterdam when Wilders, Europe's most persecuted man, goes to trial this week. The trial will make world history, since no leading politician in modern European history, as far as we know, has been prosecuted for hateful and insulting remarks about a religion, its allegedly holy book, and its adherents.
There are five charges against Wilders in all. Wilders has caused religious offense by (among other things) describing Islam as a fascist religion and by proposing a ban on the Koran, which he has compared to Mein Kampf. He has incited hatred and discrimination by claiming that Moroccan youth are violent, and by calling for the Netherlands to close its borders to all non-Western immigrants and for a halt to the "Islamic invasion." Wilders, whose political party -- the Freedom Party -- was declared yesterday to be on the verge of becoming the country's largest, risks being sentenced to as much as a year in prison.
In the last couple of days, Wilders has of course been very busy preparing his defense. But he was kind enough to take time out to answer some questions for Human Rights Service:
HRS: Like Robert Redeker and Kurt Westergaard, it may be that you will not be able to live in freedom for the rest of your life. What do you think of this situation?
Wilders: That might be true, and if so is a very sad conclusion. I wouldn’t wish my worst political enemy not to be free. But I have no regrets. I have to pay a high price for the fight for freedom but it’s worth it because if I and others in the world don’t fight against the ideology of hate and submission, we will all lose our freedom.
HRS: Do you, as a living symbol of freedom, really believe that the Koran should be prohibited, or was that proposal a conscious provocation? Do you really hope for book burnings of the sort that would remind us of some of the darker hours of Europe's history?
Wilders: You have to see this proposal in the Dutch context. In the Netherlands Mein Kampf is outlawed. When it was outlawed, the politically correct leftist and liberal parties applauded it. My point was that for the same reason and (legal) arguments that Mein Kampf was outlawed in the Netherlands, the Koran could and should be outlawed since both books are full of incitement of violence. Of course the left were angered by my proposal to outlaw the Koran, and this was inconsistent, at least. So I did introduce a parliamentary resolution to outlaw the Koran in the Netherlands, but that resolution was rejected by the majority.
HRS: How do you envision Europe in 10-20 years? Will Europe have rediscovered its identity and pushed back the dark forces of Islamism, or will the old Europe have collapsed in fear? How can the dark forces of Islamism be forced into retreat, neutralized? If fear wins out, what will Europe look like in 2025?
Wilders: Europe is weak. European leaders are weak. We currently have more appeasers like Chamberlain leading European countries today than fighters like Churchill. If we stay weak, we lose our identity; our culture based on Christianity, Judaism, and humanism will lose ground and Islam will grow even stronger in Europe today. We will face a Eurabia, as my dear friend Bat Yeor has so rightfully described it. There will be no freedom, no room for anything but Islam, no tolerance, and more sharia. It will be hell. However, more and more people are becoming aware of the Islamic threat, unlike the politically correct political elite that is still pampering the multicultural society and cultural relativism. There is a growing gap between the awakening vox populi and sleeping political elite. That’s why my Party for Freedom (PVV) in the latest poll from yesterday is (virtually) the biggest party in the Netherlands. That is encouraging. But we have a long way to go and we should fight, since liberty is at stake.
HRS: If you became prime minister of the Netherlands, what would your main political priorities be and why?
Wilders: I would stop the immigration from Muslim countries. Not because I have anything against Muslims -- I don’t -- but because we have enough Islam in Europe. I would be tougher on the integration of the non-indigenous people. If you do not adhere to our Constitution, laws, and values, and commit crimes you will deported as soon as possible. I would strengthen the freedom of speech in the Netherlands by introducing some kind of Dutch First Amendment of the sort that the U.S.A. has. I would lower taxes in the Netherlands by cutting expenses on integration, contributions to the EU, development programs, and other leftish hobbies, etc. I would spend more money on the elderly and disabled since they are often worse off than the prisoners who are pampered in Dutch prisons.
HRS: A major aspect of Islamist control in Muslim communities is the denial of rights to women in those communities. How would you address this as prime minister? Is it possible for governments to do anything about this?
Wilders: One of the differences between our free Western societies and societies where the Islamic culture is dominant is the equality of men and women. We will not compromise on that one inch. Woman are equal to men, should have the same right to education and freedom and opportunity as men. This is already in all our laws. We have to act on it if we witness any other behavior that is unlawful and we should make examples by punishing and/or extraditing those men who don’t adhere to our laws and the important principle of equality of men and women.
HRS: How should we deal with the results of new research in Denmark which shows that the better integrated Muslims are, the more radicalization there is among them?
Wilders: I don’t believe that, and as a matter of fact am not interested in why people are radicalizing. I am a lawmaker, not a psychiatrist. The left tried to fool us before by saying that the reason of radicalization is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war against Iraq or Afghanistan, the domestic social background of people, etc., etc. We should act against radicals by finally acting in the toughest way against them: Jail them and if possible denaturalize and extradite them. Let people in our societies know: If you adhere to our laws and values you are equal to anybody else and welcome to stay but if you don’t we will jail and extradite you.
HRS: How should authorities deal with organized Islam (mosques, schools, etc.) that is in full collision with human rights? Isn't this a greater challenge than whether the Koran is available in bookstores? Wouldn't it make more sense to argue for the prohibition of organized Islam itself, in cases when the organizations in question have clear connections to certain Islamic movements and schools of law?
Wilders: I believe Islam is more an ideology than a religion. As a matter of fact Islam is a totalitarian ideology like Communism and fascism. Therefore Islam is not equal to Christianity or Judaism, but has to be compared to other totalitarian ideologies. I want all Islamic schools in the Netherlands to be closed immediately. Young children should not be brought up and be taught an ideology of hate, submission, and violence. We would help the integration of young Muslim children far more by allowing them into other schools where they can be educated amongst other children. I don’t want any more mosques to be built in the Netherlands either, for the ideology of hate is advocated there, too. And as for reciprocity: Try to build a synagogue or Christian church in Saudi Arabia or Iran. You will be prosecuted and sentenced. We should stay tolerant to the tolerant, but also learn to be intolerant to the intolerant.
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